If council does act on library it would be a ‘slap in the face’ group says: Dorman St. project set to begin

HARRINGTON — Renovations to the sewer on Dorman Street will begin this week after a rough start when construction workers discovered cement under parts of the road.
The Harrington City Council approved an increase in the total price of the project on April 14, allowing for additional fees for overnight work hours and the cost of removing the cement as required by DelDOT.

“You can’t not do this project, it has to be done. I don’t think anybody likes the fact that there’s extra money involved,” City Manager Terry Tieman said.

Mayor Anthony Moyer said the project will still cost less than the originally approved amount, but hoped to avoid additional unforeseen expenses in the future.
Work on Dorman Street began on April 20 and will continue between the hours of 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. to avoid school hours.

City Planner Debbie Pfeil also introduced the city-wide comprehensive rezone which will run parallel to the code 440 rewrite and ultimately change 180 parcels of land per the current comprehensive plan, she said.

Harrington will not need to update its comprehensive plan for ten years, she said, adding that changes to the maps can be made at any time through the planning commission to be paid for by the person or entity requesting those changes which could run anywhere from $2,000-$10,000.

Major changes to Harrington’s zoning include the addition of Traditional Neighborhood Developments for mixed use areas and the designation of Central Commercial for several properties to allow for both business and residential properties downtown. Zoning changes will also allow for existing mobile homes to be replaced within R-1 areas.

At the request of several council members, Ms. Tieman also presented a preliminary budget for 2016 during the workshop. She said increases will include health care expenses and salaries to name a few.

“We’re working on it and it’s not nearly ready to be presented until we look at all the numbers and know what’s going on,” she said. “The big thing is that I don’t think there will be utility increases, or tax increases. Revenues will be stable.”

Thanks to an “extraordinary revenue” of $149,000 afforded to the City by a transfer tax from the sale of Midway Shopping Center, Ms. Tieman suggested the City consider upgrading several items such as vehicles for city code enforcement and the police and public works departments along with security camera systems in certain spots around the city. She also suggested $75,000 be allocated for the new library facility.

“We have an opportunity to not spend the tax payers money,” she said. “If we can’t look people in the eye and say we’ve got skin in the game, how can we do that if we haven’t put any money into the library?”

Marie Cunningham, member of the Library Site Selection Committee and the Friends of the Harrington Public Library, agreed with the suggestion, saying, “The Friends would not be unwilling to again do some fundraising but it is too great of a burden to bear alone. I think it would be a slap in the Friends’ face if the City did not step up and help.”

That committee met April 13 to hear from Becker Morgan Group, an architecture and engineering firm, on their view of the three available properties and which might be best suited for a new public library in Harrington. The group validated the previous result from the committee, stating that the Delaware Avenue and Little Mastens Corner properties would be the best to recommend to the Council.

Although Ms. Tieman doesn’t think there is money available in the budget for the tax rebate as previously suggested by Vice Mayor Cheryl Lahman, she is also looking at a fire hydrant replacement program, repairs to the current public library and other projects around the City.

“It’s not the final budget, or even the final draft budget. These are all things that couldn’t be done if we didn’t save money,” she said.

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